(Reuters) - The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) said on Monday it has taken steps to revoke USA Gymnastics' status as the national governing body for the sport.
The USOC said the challenges facing the governing body, which is trying to recover from a scandal over the sexual abuse of hundreds of female athletes by one of its team doctors, are more than it is capable of overcoming in its current form.
"Seeking to revoke recognition is not a conclusion that we have come to easily," USOC chief executive Sarah Hirshland said in a statement. "In the short-term, we have to work to ensure that USAG gymnasts have the support necessary to excel on and off the field of play."
In an open letter to the gymnastics community, Hirshland said "you deserve better" and that the USOC even offered USA Gymnastics the option of surrendering its recognition voluntarily.
Hirshland also said in the letter a review panel will be identified, a hearing will be held, a report will be issued and a recommendation will be made. Then the USOC board will vote to continue to recognise USAG, or to revoke that status.
Seeking a revocation does not guarantee a particular outcome.
Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced in February to up to 125 years in prison after some 200 women, including Olympians, testified about decades of abuse at his hands.
USA Gymnastics could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, ediitng by Pritha Sarkar)